The Ministry of Livestock and Fisheries has expressed concern over the declining fish population due to illegal fishing methods in the Kafue Fishery.
Southern Province Fisheries and Livestock Coordinator, Kabwe Puta says the Government is working with various stakeholders to curb the vice and increase fish production in the water body.
“These water bodies in the province are threatened with a serious decline in fish populations due to the use of bad fishing methods. That is why the Ministry is not working in isolation but involving other stakeholders to control these bad vices,” Dr Puta said.
Dr Puta said this in Mazabuka, at a handover ceremony of a banana boat, an engine and 10 life jackets to Shimungalu Fisheries Management Committee, by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF).
Dr Puta said the boat would enable the Shimungalu Fisheries Committee to effectively manage the fishing activities of Kafue Fishery.
“We are grateful for this support from WWF as it is the fulfillment of one of the Presidential directives to the Ministry, of increasing fish production,” he said.
Dr Puta further said the boat had come at the right time when the fish ban was in place and there was need for water transport to monitor fishing activities in the Kafue Fishery.
And Mazabuka District Commissioner, Oliver Mulomba said the Kafue Fishery was a unifier as it attracted people from different parts of the country as they came to harvest fish from the water body.
Mr Mulomba said as people from different regions interacted, they promoted the “One Zambia, One Nation,” motto and this could only be sustained if fish stocks were preserved through recommended fishing methods.
“Government and even you as the community cannot do it alone. Everyone should continue playing their part so that we reduce on issues of overfishing, to preserve our stocks,” he said.
Meanwhile, World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) Country Director , Nachilala Nkombo said the Kafue Fishery was one of the most productive fisheries as it produced on average about 3000 to 11,000 tonnes of fish per year.
Ms Nkombo further said a survey conducted by WWF revealed that the fishery had about 3250 boats and about 4000 fishermen living within its landscape.
In a speech read for her by WWF Mazabuka District Coordinator – Voices for Climate Just Climate Action (VCA), Diilwe Syamuntu, Ms Nkombo said there was no doubt the numbers had continued to increase.
“We have no doubt this number has continued to increase and the benefits are still being received, however, over the years the Kafue flats have come under threat as there is massive exploitation, massive illegal offtake and massive illegal harvesting of fish and this needs to be addressed by all stakeholders,” she said.
And Shimungalu Fisheries Committee Chairperson Issac Mwewa thanked WWF for honouring the request by the community to procure a boat for them.